My Third Grader at Hillside worked his charm on me last week, begging to be allowed to bring home a pair of chicks or ducklings for the weekend that his class had been watching grow from pre-hatching days, courtesy of a local farm. Once the little birds get to what he aptly calls the ‘leggy’ stage, they’re sent back to the farm, where I’m sure they are allowed to feed and run freely and live a long and carefree life, safe from insinuations of tarragon or plum sauce, or whispers of the dreaded word, “roast.”
“They’re really easy to look after,” my 9-year-old assured me, “and there will be many lessons learned.”
He was right about the latter and I dearly hope he learned as much as I did.
Lesson #1: What goes in must come out. A lot. The minute we walked through our door with the adorable, fuzzy 3-day-old house guests, my son announces, “Oh, by the way, all they do is poo and pee the whole time.” No kidding.
Lesson #2: Never switch your NYT subscription to an online one the week you adopt ducklings. I had to rummage around for old copies of the NYT, stopping short of my souvenir ones of President Obama’s inauguration. Those duckies had plenty of riveting reading material by some of the country’s top journalists all weekend.
Lesson #3: Don’t be a chicken about handling ducklings. I had no idea this would be challenging. They’re not chubby or ‘solid’ like young cats or pups. Indeed, you can feel every rib under all that blanket of yellow down – a bit of a surprise if you’re not used to it. So my son (an expert bird handler by now) had the job of transferring the ducks to a box while I cleaned out every last detail of their post-digested oatmeal and grits. About four or five times a day.
Lesson #4: Ducks like their oatmeal with water
Lesson #5: As much as drinking it, they enjoy sitting in their drinking water, however small the bowl
Lesson #6: Ducklings snuggle and sleep together. They are very sweet this way
Lesson #7: Ducklings do not quack. They cheep, and they do this quietly.
Lesson #8: Ducklings grow on you. No matter how much time and trouble their toilet habits caused, we all miss their quiet, snuggly, sweet sunshine-yellow presence!
hahahaha.. it is a sweet (yummy?) thing .. ok, ok, I will spare yr chicks or ducklings since they're house pets.. hehe.. btw, can yr boy tell its gender? hmmm…
I used to help my mom feed the ducks she reared during the old kampong days. The way they come for their food is really intimidating! I would throw their food to them and duck for safety!Hope you had fun while they're still young 😉
Hello – how cute! This reminded me of the time my mother brought 2 chicks home for me and my brother, especially the part of about the feel of their little bodies when you pick them up to hold them and the cleaning up of their frequent poo! I can even conjure up the smell of that time. My brother named his Fast Runner and mine had a sweetie-pie name, Fluffy. We had to give them back when they started to grow proper feathers, the poor things. I actually stepped on Fast Runner and my father had to nurse it back to health, the poor fluff!
from a childhood friend
thanks for sharing on the chicks 🙂 I remember visiting a distant cousin in Singapore (also in kampong days)(kampong means 'village' in Malay, for those unfamiliar)umm more than 30 years ago and he had 100 chicks running around on his porch. It was an amazing sight!
jen, love your story too, but you stay away from my duckies with your hoisin sauce! 😉